Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 267


February 28, 2014

Day 267

It has been one of THOSE weeks.  I have been so incredibly busy that I have been waking up with my heart racing and this feeling of certain doom that I will be unable to complete all that must, according to my list. This is not a good way to be living.

Coming home from vacation always leads to a hectic few days, I’ve found.  You kind of have to “make-up” the days you missed.  On top of that, I have had a number of March 1 deadlines looming over my head for several different things, all of which involve paperwork and phone calls.  I had Ben’s annual  care and needs assessment/meeting this week (more on that later).  I had to start on Will’s FAFSA this week.  I grocery shopped and visited my gynecologist today.  She was horrified to hear of Paul’s death and wanted to know if I am “taking care of yourself.”  I tried not to laugh.

Oh, that reminds me.  I got kind of a sad kick out of this, but it tickled me nonetheless.  I always have to fill out a form before I have this annual exam and on it, they want to know what type of birth control I am using.  This year I wrote, “widowhood” on the blank.  It made me kind of laugh, anyway!  I don’t think my dr was nearly so amused.  She reminded me that I might start dating at some point and that I’ll be fertile until I’m around 52.  I told her, well, I doubt I’m going to get married again until after it’s too late for babies.  She looked at me and said, “Well, you just give me a call when the day comes and I’ll get you set up on something!”  Of all the things on my mind these days, birth control is not one of them…
Oh, what else happened this week?

1993 - the wedding reception our church in Council Bluffs had for us
I have my bedroom painted and Will bought carpet for it today while I was out grocery shopping.  My friend Debbie came over Wed.  Her son was working on his Camp Coins service project (a way for the church kids to earn $ towards camp – also another one of my current stressors since I need to get Ben working on his) and he decided to work on my house for his.  I wasn’t about to say no to that!  Debbie and I ended up finishing up the painting ourselves, all the while having a nice conversation.  I needed that.  The back wall didn’t turn out to have as much of a contrast as I had planned for it to have against the other three walls.  I guess the colors were too similar.  But I am so sick of painting right now that I do not even care!

When I bought the paint earlier I could have just smacked the Menards employee that helped me, though.  I told him the color and type of paint I wanted and that I wanted their cheapest interior paint.  A few minutes later I saw him using Dutch Boy paint, which I know is NOT cheap.  I questioned his choice in this and pointed out that their store brand is 1/3 of the price of Dutch Boy.  The employee looked at me and said, “Oh, I thought you wanted good paint!”  Seriously?!

I am pretty confident I will be moved into my room by this time next week.  How wonderful that will be!  I even bought a metal track and bookshelves this week for the room.  I have not had sufficient book space since our very first apartment 20 years ago which had a dining room with an entire wall of shelves.  I bought 8 12” shelves.  I’m going to have a lot of space for books now. I can't help but smile at the thought of that!
I realized this week that despite my hectic pace and this continual feeling of falling farther and farther behind I was actually happy.  I think that really stems from the fact that I made it past the 20th.  I didn’t fall apart, but chose to live, as a friend reminded me.  That felt good.  Of course, I still do have these moments of familiar grief, still.  I’ll be going along and suddenly it’s there again, wrapping itself around my heart.  But anymore, as quickly as it comes, it also leaves rather rapidly.  I guess that’s progress – maybe?
This Monday will be our last Amanda the Panda session.  It will be nice to have our Monday nights back again, but I have really enjoyed these group sessions, all the same.  But they have once-a-month family nights so I think we’ll try to shoot for some of those.  And then they have Camp Amanda which is a 2 day, overnight, camp experience for the grieving.  I’m going to wait on that until next spring, so that Lizzie will be 6 and can participate.  Plus, this year I’m too busy!

At our last session, shortly before it ended, our leader passed around a box of small rocks and asked us to pick out one that appealed to us.  Then, after we all had our rocks, she wanted us to use our rocks to describe ourselves.  Boy, did I feel put on the spot.  Talk about having to think quickly!  Mine was a flat, smooth rock, so I said that the fact that it was flat reminded me that my life had been completely flattened by Paul’s death.  The small nicks and uneven spots I saw on the rock were like my life which will be forever scarred by the loss of my husband.  But, the fact that the rock was completely oval and the edges ran together seamlessly reminded me that, like the edges of the rock, my life WILL go on.  I kept the rock.  I assume it’s in the bottom of my purse right now.  One of these days I’ll pull it out and put it somewhere where I can see it.

At the last session, a couple of other widows in my group told me that they had missed me the week before and wondered where I was.  That’s the Monday night I was speaking to my ladies group. So I told them what I had been doing.  The women looked at me and asked, “How could you DO that (talk about marriage when I have been widowed so recently)?”  I told them it wasn’t easy, but I really believed it was something I was supposed to do.  Then, I shrugged and said, “Honestly, it was God giving me the strength.  I don’t know that I could have done it without Him holding me.”  I find that I am bolder now about my faith and beliefs.  It’s kind of nice.

Last night at Amanda the Panda they had an advertised  opportunity to make an art project – something that could be used to decorate our home in memory of our loved one.  I almost didn’t go because of my time pressures.  But I had already signed up and I hate to not follow through on my word, so I went.  I’m glad I did.  They wanted us to make a large heart, divide it into pieces to represent each member of our family, and write the strengths that each member brings to the family.

I went a different direction.  I knew the instant I showed up at home with something like that the kids would all demand to know why I had ascribed certain traits to a sibling and not to them!  So I made my heart and cut a smaller heart out of the center.  On that heart I wrote, “We are Family.”  Then, I cut what was left of the heart into 7 pieces and wrote each of our names on them.  I glued it back together onto a piece of posterboard, leaving about 1/8” gap between the pictures.  To me, that symbolizes that our family heart has been broken, but is still a complete unit.   Near the bottom of the heart I wrote “Paul” on one side with his death date and “Our Dad” on the other side.  At the very bottom I wrote, “Living out a Legacy.”  I then filled rest of the posterboard with traits our family possesses.  We were given a frame and then I framed it.

When the program director came by she insisted on taking a picture of mine so she could show it to their staff.  She then asked if I had an art background!  I laughed and told her I was just a mom.

I’m going to hang my piece in the new hallway. 
Ben hasn’t had much school the past two weeks.  A week ago Monday was Presidents’ Day.  Then, we were out of town Thursday and Friday.  This week, he had a planned early out on Tuesday.  Wednesday, everyone was let out early, unplanned, because of a water main break in Pleasantville.  They had no school at all on Thursday because of that and today they had a 2 hour delay because of it.  But that’s ok.  It’s not like my other kids have been having a lot of school, either!

As I mentioned we did have his annual meeting this week.  There was a lot to talk about.  I’m switching Ben over to the CCO option which has necessitated a LOT of paperwork on my end.  But now I can pay his SCL and respite providers $15 and $16 per hour instead of the $8 something they were earning before when contracted through an area agency.  Also, my friend Maureen and her husband are getting close to having their greenhouse ready and they want Ben to come work in it so there’s been quite a bit of discussion about how that will work since it involves state monies for Ben’s job development.

The program director at Genesis also came, to my delight.  She is a fellow Christian and just a delightful woman.  I could so easily see us being friends outside of Ben’s involvement at Genesis.  But she and Lisa (the case manager – also someone I like immensely) told me that Genesis has group homes.  The more they explained these homes to me, the more excited I got.  From what they are telling me, this sounds like an ideal placement opportunity for Ben in a few years.  I know he desires to be independent, but I greatly desire to keep him safe.  Because of that,  I have just always assumed that Ben would live at home until I die.  At that point he’ll live with one of his siblings.  But the idea that he could be somewhat independent, while still having assistance for everything he needs, makes my heart sing.  I had them put Ben on the waiting list because it’s about a three year wait.  I don’t know that Ben will be ready to move out in three years but he won’t lose his spot in the queue if we decide to wait, either.  He’d be in Indianola and I could pick him up for church and other things, as we desire.  He’d have a social group and transportation to and from wherever he ends up working, which has been a concern to me as I contemplate my future and the possibility of maybe having to return to work someday.

Financially, it sounds like Paul’s death may benefit Ben, as well.  These ladies were telling me that not only will Ben be eligible for Disability once he graduates but because his father died, he would also receive SSDI, still.  At least until the entire American economy collapses, that is…

Talk about a look of smugness on my face!  My 22nd b-day
So now I feel like I have some definite goals to work with Ben in preparation for his eventual move.  When Lisa found out in conversation that I still put away all Ben’s clothes and lay them out for him every morning she got this look on her face and exclaimed, “Sarah!  Ben is 17 years old – you need to LET him be independent. He is almost a MAN!”  All right, all right…I’m just envisioning the mess his dresser drawers will be by the time he gets done.  Since then, I’ve started praying that God would give me other ideas of ways I can promote Ben’s independence as well.  It occurred to me that I should buy him his own alarm clock and see if he can learn to get himself up in the mornings.
My mom sent me a copy of David Jeremiah’s book on Heaven.  I don’t know if this is something new or not.  It’s really cute – just a small little, hard-bound book.  I read almost the entire thing in one sitting yesterday while David was at Learning RX.  I found myself so excited as I read it.  There is SO much waiting for us!  I’m so happy Paul is already experiencing all those delights.  Oh, how fortunate he is!  I’m going to read this book kids next.  We had started, “Heaven is for Real” last summer but haven’t gotten back to it yet.  I would like to finish it.  I see they have made that particular book into a movie.  I find that I am reluctant to watch it, though.  I have my doubts about Hollywood being true to the story and message and I kind of hate to have the book ruined for me before I finish reading it.
I had a rather profound thought earlier this week as I was priming my bedroom.  I have never felt like I am the best mom the girls could have.  I’m more equipped than their birth mom, but since the girls arrived I have felt like they have been getting the short stick in regards to what they deserve in a real mother.  I am supposed to be writing an article on adoption for a friend’s blog (due tomorrow, and no, I haven’t started yet) so that’s probably why this was on my mind.  I don’t say this so that my friends can rise up and assure me that I am terrific mother.  I know my heart and I know I could do better.  Since they came, I’ve been grouchier as they tested me (as I knew they would) and as my days got even busier.  While I very quickly learned to love the girls, it wasn’t the same, instantaneous love I felt for the boys.  I felt guilty about that.  I felt self-conscious at times, (and still do) wondering if I’m being judged by the entire black community (like it really matters, but somehow, it does).  At times, early on, I even felt resentful of the girls, even though I sought them, not the other way around! And then of course, Paul died and I haven’t felt like the greatest at anything for the past 8 months, but especially at parenting.  These myriad of feelings have lead me to believe that the girls could have done a lot better.

But I had this sudden thought this week.  We got pregnant four times, super-easy.  Of course, we lost the last one and then entered a long, long, long period of secondary infertility.  I pondered that.  It was just weird that I could have babies almost at will and then I suddenly could not.  Why did that happen?  Then it hit me.

God was saving Lizzie and Ellie for me.

Had I not had Sam so much later, it’s doubtful I would have ever pursued adoption.  God needed me to be in a place to adopt at the same time that these two little girls would need a new mother.

It was the most sobering and deep thought.  God picked me for the girls.  And vice-versa, of course.  If that’s the case, then perhaps I do have the skill set necessary for properly parenting them?  Perhaps then, time will even out some of these bumps and I will grow into the mother that the girls really do need?  I hope so. A better way to say that might be that God will give me the skills needed to parent the girls.  

Maybe this will be the basis of my article that I need to write.  Really, really soon.
Sam has had a few gems this week that I’ve jotted down.  I’ll wrap up this super long post with them.  This is what happens when I’m too busy to sit down and blog! 

When I got home last night I went into Ben and Sam’s room to get out Ben’s clothes for school and Sam was still awake.  I tucked him in again and took off his glasses and he sighed, “David doesn’t do a very good job at tucking people in!”

This morning as he headed down the stairs to pick up his bedroom, a daily chore, he commented, “Basically, I’m the butler of my bedroom because I’m the only one who cleans it!”  I’m wondering where he learned the word, “butler”!

Tonight I was warning Lizzie about standing on the table bench in the kitchen.  She bumped a picture hanging on the wall behind her and it was swinging wildly.  Sam then pointed out my fiestaware on a shelf directly above the picture and told Lizzie, “Mom will not be happy if you break those dishes.  They’re the most special thing to her!”  I was relieved to hear him add, “Except us – we’re more special to Mom.”

Maybe they are catching what I hope I’m conveying.  Maybe despite my many failures and lack of patience and understanding, they have caught what matters.

They’re all “more special” to Mom than anything else in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, very profound thoughts on the adoption.

    Really, none of us are perfect moms and I promise you if I lost my husband, I would be a wreck for quite some time. I'm sure I would care for my kids but the reality is, the whole situation is HARD. Hard for you, hard for them. Don't be too hard on YOURSELF.

    I often wonder if I'm doing a good enough job with my kids and I am not a widow and all the kids are bio kids (and I point that out because that means the children didn't come with the heartbreak of losing their first family...I totally think adopted children are just as wonderful and precious as bio kids.)

    I have to admit your GYN docs comment about "being fertile 'til 52" was both funny and frightening. I have many friends who don't use birth control at all, and none of them are having babies past 50. I'm 44 and 5 months pregnant and even THAT is unusual in our community. So I guess while it is possible to be fertile that late, it doesn't seem very likely. Not, like you said, that it matters right now. That was kind of an odd statement but I'm sure she was reeling from knowing you'd lost your husband in the last year.